Is literalism a faith? The problem with wizards and vampires.

Perhaps the reason why literalists have fretted over the popularity of books like Harry Potter and movies like Twilight is not that they fear children will learn to believe in wizards or vampires but rather that children will learn to make believe.

The pleasure of make belief is that it is a form of play – a game.

Literalism requires the believer to take someone else’s word for it. Literal belief is thus a question of power – of submitting oneself to another. (cf., struggle, surrender, kneel.)

Interpretation invites the audience to play along: it assumes an independent reader who must be seduced – the willing suspension of disbelief. Rather than submission, it requires co-operation.